ALBANY, 07/22/20 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today joined with members of the Senate Republican Conference to advance a package of bills designed to protect law enforcement officers, who face increased attacks and animosity while on duty thanks to pervasive anti-police rhetoric and pro-criminal policies like bail reform and defunding the police. An amendment to bring the measures to the floor of the senate was unanimously rejected by the Senate Democrats.
“Our police officers are dedicated, hardworking men and women, they take their oath to protect and serve to heart and are vital to keeping our communities safe. In turn, it is crucial that we stand up for our law enforcement professionals and ensure they are not the targets of violence,” said Senator Seward. “The legislation I co-sponsored would have made New York safer and the ‘no’ votes from Senate Democrats are unconscionable. When police come under physical attack and nothing is done, it leaves all of us vulnerable.”
The ‘Protect Those Who Protect Us’ package, endorsed by the New York State Sheriff’s Association, would deter violence against law enforcement by increasing penalties on existing crimes and creating new categories of crimes as a result of new types of attacks. It includes:
· Increasing the penalty for resisting arrest to a Class E felony;
· Creating a Class D felony for failing to retreat, if an individual defies an order to move 25 feet while an officer is performing his or her duties;
· Increasing assault on a police officer by one degree for the current crimes pertaining to assault upon a police officer, and make all of them crimes for which a judge could require the posting of bail;
· Creating a Class D felony of Aggravated Harassment of a Police or Peace Officer if an officer is struck by any substance or object including, but not limited to, bottles, rocks, bodily fluids, spittle, urine, seminal fluid, feces, flammable liquids or other noxious, hazardous or dangerous substances or objects;
· Making any crime committed against a police officer because of his or her status as a police officer a hate crime, with the concomitant increase in penalty as is currently provided with respect to hate crimes against members of other protected groups;
· Making it a Class D Felony, to falsely accuse a police officer or peace officer of wrongdoing in the performance of his or her duties, and create a private right of civil action for the officer against the false accuser;
· Making it a Class D Felony to dox a police officer or peace officer because of the officer’s status as a police or peace officer, or to dox any other person because of that person’s relationship to, or affiliation with, a police or peace officer;
· Making it a Class E Felony to follow or surveil a police or peace officer for no legitimate purpose, whether such officer is on or off duty, or to approach within one hundred yards of the private residence or place of lodging of a police officer, without the consent of said officer, for reasons related to the officer’s status or service as a police or peace officer, or for the purpose of intimidating the officer or the officer’s family;
· Providing a $500,000 benefit for police officers who are seriously disabled or die from injuries incurred in the line of duty; and
· Making Police Memorial Day on May 15 a State holiday in honor of the more than 1500 police officers who have died in the line of duty in New York.